Jasmine Lord (www.jasminelord.com) is a Los Angeles-based camera woman who shoots runway and backstage for fashion weeks in North America as well as working on documentaries, commercials and live events. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Australia, majoring in Screen and Stage, then continued her film education through camera assistant internship programs at the Australian Film Television & Radio School & with ARRI Australia respectively. Jasmine has shot two books for the Eat Naked nutrition brand and has had her work shown at a juried exhibit at the 2011 Filter Photo Festival in Chicago. She has also photographed for AFI (American Film Institute Festival), for high end restaurants, food catering services, locals artists and designers in LA. Jasmine is an associate member of the SOC (Society of Camera Operators) and an active member of the ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society). Jasmine has been teaching film and digital based teen summer classes with LACP for almost five years & always looks forward to taking time out of her busy schedule to share her knowledge with young people who have a keen interest in photography.
Scheduled to Teach
LACP Interviews Jasmine Lord
LACP asks Jasmine Lord ten questions about her background, career in and beliefs about photography.
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Jasmine Lord: This might be the hardest question of all. It depends on what is inspiring me at the time, but if I was to try to put my work into a single mold, it would have to be documentarian. I shoot for so many different people, food bloggers, nutritionists, the American Film Institute Festival and Lifetime Achievement Awards, I shoot underwater on dive trips, I shoot live events, portraits and sometimes I just like to get creative with friends and shoot to have fun. I think the most important thing is to keep creating. While unconventional, I admit that my style is consistently inconsistent. But this is great in terms for sharing varied knowledge to students. Above all I?m passionate. My enthusiasm for the craft of creating images is infectious.
LACP: How long have you been photographing?
JL: Stills: Since 2002, when I purchased my first SLR. It was a slow learning curve as I had no set teachers but a few patient friends. But I first picked up a video camera at University in the late 90s.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
JL: To be honest, I owe much of my photography training to cinematography and the wonderfully patient camera assistants and cinematographers in Australia who trained me up in the camera department. When I moved to the USA, I took a basic photo and B&W printing class at SMC to fill in the gaps and cross the knowledge over into stills and haven’t looked back. Working for a couple of years at the Lomography Store in LA when it was open was also instrumental to helping me keep in touch with my creative film experimentation.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
JL: As a child I always wanted to work in film, but I was a kid with no knowledge of the film making process. So I wanted to be an actress. While studying performing arts at University a television production professor gave me an opportunity to operate on a live performance piece. I loved it and was absolutely hooked. As an actor you only get to contribute creatively to your scenes, but as the camera operator, I controlled the frame. That was far more exciting. I knew then that somehow the camera would become my main thing in life.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
JL: I thought about it. At one point in my life I had a full time job in retail with a great retailer back in Australia and I felt miserable. My career behind the camera wasn’t advancing and I wasn’t sure if I still really wanted to pursue film, or if I was just telling myself I did. So I took a year off and went to work for a marine biologist and then a dive company on the Great Barrier Reef. I think for about 6 months I stopped thinking about working behind the camera. I gave myself a mental break and it was the best decision ever. After 9 months I felt refreshed and ready to take the necessary steps needed to pursue my career. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but mentally I was prepared – I had moral support and a small job to go back to that would help me get by while I followed my heart. I wouldn’t be here right now without having taken that time out of life and spending time with those wonderful people on the reef.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
JL: Most certainly. It doesn’t suit some relationships and lifestyles, but where some doors close, others will open and I’m very happy with the decisions I have made in my life. I don’t think I could sacrifice my happiness.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
JL: My favorite thing in the world is getting insight into the lives of others. It’s such a gift. The other would be the travel. I have traveled a lot these past few years and I am grateful for every second of it.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
JL: I teach Basic and Intermediate photo classes in the Teen Summer Program.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
JL: Teaching brings me back to my roots. I teach how I enjoyed to be taught and I add what I wished I’d known at that age. Teens are so wonderful to teach because they are fearless. They are smart, eager to learn and incredibly creative. I’ll come back from shooting the runway shows of big name designers, which are fabulous but then then suddenly I will see a 13 year old teen produce some incredible work and I will think, “Wow, you are going to go far!.” It’s very rewarding.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
JL: The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Get out there, meet people. Join photo clubs, meet with other shooters and let industry professionals know that you are hungry to learn and work. Also, don’t be afraid to ask .. about important things; how to handle a situation when a client/company doesn’t pay; how much to charge for your services. Remember that photography is also a business. You can’t pay your bills on favors forever.